Lord Mandelson tells Political Correspondent Rob Merrick why he won’t let the Halewood factory close
LORD Mandelson yesterday told worried Jaguar Land Rover workers that the Government would rescue the company – as he denied his own meddling was holding up a deal.
Speaking to the Daily Post, the Business Secretary said Jaguar had not yet asked for direct financial aid – despite the rumoured threat to close its Halewood plant – and vowed: "We will be there [for you]."
In an upbeat message to Britain's car workers, Lord Mandelson also insisted both Jaguar and Vauxhall staff would be "in the same jobs in future years".
And he said the new owners of crisis-hit GM Europe, Vauxhall's parent company, would be known by the end of this month, after suggestions that Canadian group Magna International may yet miss out.
Lord Mandelson spoke after the bombshell weekend suggestion that Jaguar was running out of options and would axe the 2,000 workers at Halewood, in order to save its other UK factories.
Meanwhile, Indian owners Tata Motors have accused the Government of dragging its heels on a credit guarantee deal that would release a £340m European loan to develop "clean cars".
Lord Mandelson is reported to have demanded the right to appoint a new chairman, a guarantee of no further redundancies and a pledge by Tata to inject further cash into Jaguar.
But, yesterday, the Business Secretary said the key to delivering that loan was Jaguar "reaching agreement with banks about restructuring the company". And he said: "It is not about getting involved in the running of the company. We do not want to have a say in who the chairman is, who sits on the Jaguar board, or who the chief executive is.
"But we do need to be confident that the taxpayers' money that goes into Jaguar will come back out again – that the taxpayer won't be left high and dry."